Sheriff: 3rd Greenon crash death shows need for teen driver safety

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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A 16-year-old Greenon High School student was killed Sunday in a car crash in Enon ????€??” the third student in the district to die in a fatal accident this school year.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The traffic deaths of three Greenon High School students in two months is tragic and highlights the need for young drivers to be careful on county roads, Clark County Sheriff Deborah Burchett said Tuesday.

“When any young person loses their life, it is very heartbreaking for everyone,” she said. “Their parents, their friends. It’s heartbreaking for us.”

RELATED: 3rd Greenon student killed in crash

Kenny DePhillip died after the car he was a passenger in crashed Sunday on Fowler Road near Rebert Pike. He’s the third Greenon student killed in a crash this school year. David Waag and Connor Williams died after a crash in August.

Teen drivers are at the highest risk of fatal crashes and are more than twice as likely to get into accidents with passengers in the car, Ohio Department of Public Safety statistics say. Having too many teens in the car can lead to serious consequences, Burchett said.

“They are only supposed to have one in it,” she said. “But kids are kids, they’ll put as many kids in the car as they can possibly can. And that causes a big problem.”

It’s critically important for teen drivers to be alert when behind the wheel and to take driving seriously, Burchett said.

“I personally believe a lot of teens are in an accident because of inattention,” she said.

READ MORE: 3rd Greenon student killed in car crash: 3 things to know

Ohio lawmakers are debating now stiffening laws for teen drivers. Possible changes include increasing the youngest age to get a license to 16½, lengthening temporary permits to a full year and prohibiting newly licensed teens from driving without parental supervision between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The sheriff’s office will extend any help to Greenon it needs, Burchett said.

The Greenon community gathered Monday night at the high school for a vigil to honor Kenny.

“He was just an all-around amazing, good kid and a great loss to our community,” Kenny’s seventh-grade teacher Cathy Turner said. “He was fun-loving. He was a practical joker and he was friends with everybody.”

DETAILS: Greenon mourns 3rd student death in 2 months in fatal car crashes

Kenny was killed when a 1997 Chevrolet Lumina driven by Andrew Scott, 16 and also a Greenon High School student, went off the right side of Fowler Road Sunday and clipped two telephone poles, state troopers said. Scott sustained non-life threatening injuries, troopers said.

“Driver inattention, lack of familiarity with the roadway and speed all are being considered as factors,” state patrol Sgt. Richard Dixon said.

David Waag and Connor Williams were honored by the community numerous times after their deaths in August, including with vigils, a public funeral and a program before a football game.

“When you’re looking at the students, you know they’re hurting and you know they’re struggling today but this is a tight-knit group,” Kenny’s pastor, Rev. Dan Fiorini said.

MORE COVERAGE: Greenon boys killed in crash remembered as compassionate

Kenny was a fun-loving and positive person, he said. Fiorini will be at the high school this week to counsel to students in need.

Students are hurting, Turner said, but are coming together to support each other.

“I look out here and I see a group of kids that I’m proud to call my own,” she said.


By the numbers

3: Clark County teens killed in car crashes since the start of the school year

2: Months since the last crash killed two Greenon boys

29th: Ranking for the area near Rebert Pike and Fowler Road for dangerous rural roads in Clark County between 2014 and 2016 by the Transportation Coordination Committee.

Complete coverage

The Springfield News-Sun digs into important public safety issues, including recent stories on efforts to make dangerous intersections safer and Ohio lawmakers discussing new rules for teen drivers.

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